Adult Entertainment Industry Crafts Safety Guidelines

from – The trade organization for the adult entertainment industry is putting the final touches on guidelines to ensure safety on film shoots and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The adult industry has long been self-policing with monthly tests when it comes to safety but the disclosure last summer of a performer testing positive for HIV brought more scrutiny by the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health and led to a petition to force Los Angeles County to require condoms in adult productions.

Now the Free Speech Coalition pins hopes that new guidelines will put the matter to rest for an industry that has already seen a decline in the number of films made in the past year and driven some producers to other states.

With a bloodborne pathogen plan in place, the state will be able to enforce its provisions for protecting performers, crew members and others on film shoots. Critical to the coalition is that guidelines are specific for adult productions.

“We want to work with (Cal/OSHA) on the plan and on standards that are realistic for the industry,” said Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, based in Canoga Park.

Companies signing on to the guidelines would, among other precautions, provide closable, puncture-resistant biohazard waste containers; require the washing of body parts after the filming of each scene; have performers sign a document acknowledging the risks involved; provide training for employees and contractors and strict record-keeping of the training; and to make condoms and disposable latex gloves available at filming locations.

The guidelines at times go into detailed descriptions, such as the dilution of bleach to hot water in order to clean chairs, bedding, tables, stools, work surfaces, sex toys used in filming.

“It’s only a 10 page document but it’s not easy to get there,” Duke said. “You have to take a lot into account.”

The industry has been through health scares before.

Filming came to a halt for a month in 2004 after it became known that a male performer tested positive for HIV and had infected three actresses. A fifth, unrelated performer also tested positive.

Last June, it was a single female performer testing positive although it was determined it was not a workplace exposure.

Still, the industry as a whole received a black eye with the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation in Sherman Oaks taking much of the heat. Cal/OSHA later sprung a surprise inspection on the facility and attempted unsuccessfully to get access to patient records. (Attempts to reach AIM Executive Director Sharon Mitchell were not successful.)

Pushing for stricter standards in adult films is the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which went to court to force Los Angeles County to require condoms usage and filed complaints against 16 adult production companies, all but one located in the San Fernando Valley, with Cal/OSHA.

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